Darwin: Termite mounds in Litchfield NP

On our tour of Litchfield National Park I learned that there are two types of termite mounds: Cathedral and Magnetic.

As the name suggests, the Cathedral mounds sort of look like a cathedral.  They are tall and sort of rounded and grow very tall. They can last up to 50 years.

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You can see how tall they are compared to these people.

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The Magnetic termite mounds are called that because they grow north to south to minimise the amount of sunlight during the day.  They are amazing structures.  The have arches, tunnels, chimneys and even insulation.

There seemed to be a lot more of the magnetic mounds that we saw but because they just seem to ‘pop’ out of the ground they can be found anywhere.  Another thing I noticed is the they are not mixed. The cathedral mounds seemed to grow in one part of the park and the magnetic mounds in another part.

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A cross-section of one of the mounds.

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Darwin: Charles Darwin NP military bunker

The bunker was built during WW2 to hold ammunition. It was deemed far enough inland to avoid being a target for the Japanese.  The bunker has been transformed into a museum which details Darwin’s role in the war.  During World War II, this area was part of a network of military sites that formed Australia’s front line of defence.

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Darwin: Old Town Hall ruins

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The old Town Hall amazingly survived the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese only to be wiped out by Cyclone Tracey in 1974.  The ruins were built during the Pine Creek Gold Rush in 1883.  These days the decay of the ruins has been slowed by modern-day conservation techniques.  They are used as an outdoor theatre.

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The Bombing of Darwin memorial plaque

Before we went to Darwin I knew little about the bombing in 1942 during WW2.  It happened soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbour and was organised by the same Commander.  It was a strategic bombing rather than an invasion as I had been taught in school.  The Japanese were preparing to invade Timor.  With Darwin being so close to Timor they could easily have helped defend Timor from the military bases protecting the northern coast of Australia. The information on these plaques provides a lot of really interesting information.

http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs195.aspx

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A trip down Katherine Gorge

After our lunch at the Nitmiluk Visitors Centre we drove down to where the boat was moored to start our two hour tour of Katherine Gorge.

I didn’t know it beforehand but Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges.  During the wet season it becomes one with the higher water levels. It follows the Katherine River, which begins in Kakadu. We were there early in the dry season when the water levels had begun to drop.  The boat travelled to the end of the first gorge where it stopped.  We had to walk a few hundred metres to the get on to the next boat. It was funny having to do that.  It was a really interesting walk and gave us a chance to take in the scenery rather than just cruising beside it.  The sandstone walls rise more than 100m above the water and are marked with erosion from millions of years.

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Crocodiles love to sun themselves on the sandbanks.  The sign on the sand warns visitors of this.

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Emerald Springs Roadhouse

To say I was surprised by how good this roadhouse is would be putting it mildly.  Our tour stopped here for breakfast on our way to Katherine.  Our driver told us that it used to be a normal (but unsuccessful) roadhouse until the current owners bought the property and transformed it.  We didn’t get time to look around much but were impressed by the gardens and laid-back feeling of the area.  The food was great.  Mum and I had raisin toast but Dad had an egg and bacon sandwich which looked delicious.

On their website, they advertise having the only cappuccino machine between Darwin and Katherine, therefore having the best coffee around.  I’m not a coffee drinker so can’t confirm that.

We also stopped off here on the way home from Katherine for dinner.  I ate one of the nicest Caesar salads I’ve ever eaten.

 

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